Since the overturn of Roe V. Wade, a court ruling that has changed the way states regulate abortion services by establishing new privacy rights for women, abortion has become less accessible throughout the United States. In order to combat this issue, the university organization known as UNLV People Power has taken it upon itself to work on aiding the civil rights of all in the UNLV community.
UNLV People Power is not only an organization but a student branch of the ACLU, the American Civil Liberties Union. Both President Ricardo Felipe and Vice President Annie Vong of the student association spoke more about their efforts to protect the rights of UNLV Rebels with an emergency contraceptive vending machine on campus.
Felipe stated, “We aim to not only educate students on their civil rights but to also advocate for their rights on campus. Our focus is currently centered around educational equity, essentially making sure that anyone who wants to pursue higher education has that right and is able to graduate on their own terms.”
Felipe is a political science and economics major who was elected alongside Vong, a political science major with three minors: Brookings Public Policy, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Great Academic Works. From their elections, both students wanted to focus on reproductive rights as the one-year anniversary of Roe v. Wade being overturned came. Therefore, they decided to work with organizations such as the CSUN as they had similar ideals in the past to bring about an emergency contraceptive vending machine.
“We came up with the idea of lobbying CSUN to have this on campus. As we asked around, Ricardo learned that CSUN was already interested in doing this before but had only been able to create a brainstorming document. CSUN Senators are underpaid and overworked, so we figured that we could act as a lobbying group to figure out the more time-intensive and logistical aspects like funding and deep research,” says Vong.
Students United for Reproductive Justice (SURJ) ,as well as the Feminist Club have also provided their support in this plan through collaborative events educating as well as encouraging students about utilizing contraceptives.
“We were very fortunate to be part of a collaborative event, Beyond the Basics: Sex
Education, with SURJ and the Feminist Club on Oct. 18 which was very successful for all
parties involved. During this event, students were educated on how to correctly use
contraceptives and also given resources on what to do if said contraceptives were to fail and who to reach out to if they choose to. Whilst there, we introduced our initiative and had an
overwhelmingly positive reception to the idea and also collected signatures of students who were eager to show their support for getting the emergency contraceptive vending machine on campus,” said Felipe.
SURJ and the Feminist Club have also expressed their aid by sharing the current petition that UNLV People Power has made.
“At the moment, we’re collecting signatures for a petition to show CSUN that there’s demand and a political appetite for something like this on campus. With SURJ and Feminist Club, they’ve been so supportive in getting the word out there and having their members sign the petition. Right now, we’re preparing to attend CSUN university initiative meetings to get legislation started, but my hope is that we are able to get this passed before the end of the spring semester,” Vong explains.
To sign the petition for the emergency contraceptive vending machine to be on campus, please visit the UNLV People Power’s Google Forms Link. You may also follow all the organizations involved in the implementation through the following social platforms for further events and updates:
UNLV People Power Instagram Page: @unlvpeoplepower
Feminist Club Instagram Page: @unlv_feministclub
SURJ Instagram Page: @surjunlv